Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The King's Christmas List by Eldon Johnson

Recommendation: Favorable

Emma and her little dog Shu-Shu are invited to the King's Birthday party, what an honor!  They are very excited to attend. But first they must certainly find a gift to bring. After deciding to bring the King a special cake, they depart for the party on a carriage sent by the King himself. Along the way they meet several different people.  Each set of people has a different need that Emma can meet if she is willing to give up some of her favorite things, including the cake she was bringing for the King.

Upon arriving at the party Emma and Shu-Shu notice that no one is giving gifts to the King for his birthday. Instead they are giving each other gifts. The King notices Emma's confusions and explains to her that over the years people have forgotten that He too would like a gift, a gift given from the heart.  He then explains that He sent all those needy people along the way to the party and He was so glad that Emma showed the true spirit of Christmas in giving.

Positives: A delightful story and a wonderful message for children and adults to remember. This story clearly communicates the importance of giving to others and the joy we can experience.  I did like at the end where the author invites kids to log onto the website for ideas on how they can give.  The website was not up yet, but I do hope it provides ideas for kids to be active in and not just links for places they can give money.

Negatives: While it is implied, it is never stated that the King is Jesus.  I think it is important, especially for young children, to understand this. The author uses Matthew 25: 37-40 as the basis for his ideas and motivation on giving.  This passage is specifically speaking of taking care of other believers, and I don't believe that is expressed in the story.  There are many passages however, that do tell us to love and care for all people.

Talking Points: This story is a wonderful springboard for question and discussion, especially around the holidays. I think children need to understand that the greatest gift they can ever give someone is the gospel message. This may be accompanied by food, water, clothing or other necessities, but the greatest need any person has is for their soul to be right with God. We can also talk about our attitude toward giving.  We should have the attitude that Jesus did that is expressed in Phil. 2:5-8. I would also take my kids to the book of James.  Chapter 1 talks about caring for orphans and widows and subsequent chapters deal with how we treat brothers and sister in need. As you consider where you might give a monetary gift or volunteer your time I would highly encourage you to teach your children the importance of spreading the gospel.  Invest your time and money where the gospel is being proclaimed.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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